The project.

The generation of electric currents that power human activities in a clean and sustainable way is a top priority for mankind. In this respect, getting a handle on the intricacies of photoinduced electron and charge transfer processes in organic materials is fundamental to enhancing the efficiency of energy conversion in solar energy devices. Given that the early stages of these processes occur on ultrafast (attosecond) time scales, their access is technically quite challenging. The TOMATTO project plans to take a closer look at this problem through advances in attosecond science and organic synthesis and the support of computational modelling. TOMATTO project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 951224).

TOMATTO project, the ultimate Time scale in Organic Molecular opto-electronics, the ATTOsecond, aims to capture ultrafast electron dynamics to enhance solar energy conversion efficiency.


Some data


IMDEA Nanociencia hosting Prof. Fernando Martín, Politecnico di Milano hosting Prof. Mauro Nisoli, and Universidad Complutense de Madrid hosting Prof. Nazario Martín.


6 years, starting on April 2021


c.a. 12 € million.


IMDEA Nanociencia
Photoinduced electron transfer (ET) and charge transfer (CT) processes occurring in organic materials are the cornerstone of technologies aiming at the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy and at its efficient transport. Thus, investigations of ET/CT induced by visible (VIS) and ultraviolet (UV) light are fundamental for the development of more efficient organic opto-electronic materials. The usual strategy to improve efficiency is chemical modification, which is based on chemical intuition and try-and-error approaches, with no control on the ultrafast electron dynamics induced by light. Achieving the latter is not easy, as the natural time scale for electronic motion is the attosecond (10-18 seconds), which is much shorter than the duration of laser pulses produced in femtochemistry laboratories. With femtosecond pulses, one can image and control “slower” processes, such as isomerization, nuclear vibrations, hydrogen migration, etc., which certainly affect ET and CT at “longer” time scales. However, real-time imaging of electronic motion is possibly the only way to fully understand and control the early stages of ET and CT, and by extension the coupled electron-nuclear dynamics that come later and lead (or not) to an efficient electric current. In this project we propose to overcome the fs time-scale bottleneck and get direct information on the early stages of ET/CT generated by VIS and UV light absorption on organic opto-electronic systems by extending the tools of attosecond science beyond the state of the art and combining them with the most advanced methods of organic synthesis and computational modelling. The objective is to provide clear-cut movies of ET/CT with unprecedented time resolution and with the ultimate goal of engineering the molecular response to optimize the light driven processes leading to the desired opto-electronic behaviour. To this end, synergic efforts between laser physicists, organic chemists and theoreticians is compulsory.


The project faces three interconnected grand challenges that involve very different expertise. This can only be achieved by the synergic work of the three research teams: Prof. Fernando Martín’s, Prof. Mauro Nisoli’s and Prof. Nazario Martín’s.

The continuous feedback between computational modelling (F. Martín), organic synthesis (N. Martín) and attosecond beamline developments (M. Nisoli), as well as recruitment of researchers working at the three sides of this triangle is vital to find the optimum conditions to reach the sought goals.